Reach out for help – Reach out to help

I watched a video today. Seems innocent enough, in today’s world. We all watch some sort of video on social media with our phones in hand. However what I watched today was disturbing to say the least. You see, in this video a young lady documented her death. She had taken her own life in this video. This incident took place in Georgia and in the grand scheme of things that’s not that far from home. In this video she climbs a tree after setting up a camera and she ties the noose. She spends several minutes explaining her feelings. The words coming from her muffled and crying voice sounds like what many teenagers feel, feelings I felt at that age. She apologized for her upcoming actions. She explained how depression had taken over and she couldn’t continue on with those feelings, how she felt inadequate and unwanted. She explained how she knew there were people who did love her but the pain was just too much.

I stopped the video at this point when she said her final goodbye. I have seen plenty of death in my line of work but I would not watch this young girl take her life; I couldn’t bring myself to do so. I watched to get a better understanding of why this was taking place, as if it was a great big mystery to me. Her feelings are feelings that so many of us have – especially when we are at the young age she was. We have all faced these challenges and some of us may bounce back better than others but these feelings are very much real.

I’ve always been pretty vocal about suicide prevention. You see in my line of work – emergency services – the suicide rate has increased every year with depression and PTSD being the main factors. We see a lot of things that are hard to accept and even harder to forget. That being said, I asked myself why this young lady would livestream her suicide and, while I’m no specialist, I think I found my answer in her own words. She had been hurting for so long and in her own way I believe she had reached out for help but the signs weren’t recognized. As she stood in that tree and cried and apologized in a live video, I think she was waiting to be rescued. She spent several minutes explaining her pain and I fully believe she took the time to do so with people watching hoping that someone would stop her, someone would finally listen and when that moment never came she took the only road she thought she had left to take.

When I tell you my heart was breaking that really doesn’t cover it. I had felt these same exact feelings before. I had been there where she was before. I could relate to her more than anything else.

Now from what I understand, this video which is no longer online is completely and heartbreakingly real, however if it does come about as being staged, then the moral of the story still remains intact. Depression is real and suicide is a serious threat to our world today. How many people have lost their loved ones to what has really become an epidemic in our world – depression? I wonder why this isn’t taken as seriously as it should be. Have we become so detached that we don’t recognize what others are going through? I really wish I had the answer to these questions but what I do know is that if you are going through things and that it’s become too much to handle, there is another way. There is help out there. Sometimes the signs aren’t recognized but that doesn’t mean there is no hope. There are people willing to listen and willing to help. All you have to do is reach out and there will be someone there to catch you. I’m aware how sensitive a subject suicide is and it’s extremely difficult to write about. I do so in hopes of preventing another tragedy as this taking place. Please if you know of someone who needs help, reach out. You may very well be the difference in their lives they are looking for.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line: 741-741

Daniel White is a lieutenant with the Atmore Fire Department and advertising manager with Atmore News.